History of ABOTA
The year was 1957. The jury system was under fierce attack by the press, legislators, judges and scholars. California's Governor, Edmund "Pat" Brown, even suggested a commission to hear workers' compensation, liability and other civil cases. It was this dark cloud - the potential death sentence for the civil jury system that provided the seeds for the birth of the American Board of Trial Advocates. A handful of young lawyers began an organization (ABOTA) that was "revolutionary", according to most of their elders. The same forces are at work today as they were in the late 50's - those people want to dismantle the civil jury system-and the attacks are far less subtle. The preservation of the civil jury trial, "Justice by the People," is the primary purpose of the American Board of Trial Advocates (ABOTA). We seek attorneys who display skill, civility and integrity, to help younger attorneys achieve a higher level of trial advocacy and to educate the public about the vital importance of the Seventh Amendment. Thomas Jefferson was of the opinion that the right to trial by a jury of fellow citizens was a more important safeguard of personal liberty than the right to vote. With a jury, the rights and duties of each of us will be decided by our fellow citizens, not by some bureaucrat or governmental functionary. ABOTA agrees with Jefferson and is a leader in the fight to preserve and protect your right to a jury trial. ABOTA is dedicated to “Justice by the People.”
The general purposes of this Association shall be to foster improvement in the ethical and technical standards of practice in the field of advocacy to the end that individual litigants may receive more effective representation and the general public be benefited by more efficient administration of justice consistent with time-tested and traditional principles of litigation.
The specific purposes of this Association are:
- To elevate the standards of integrity, honor and courtesy in the legal profession;
- To aid in further education and training of trial lawyers; to work for the preservation of our jury system; to improve methods of procedure of our present trial court system; to serve as an informational center; to discuss and study matters of interest to trial lawyers; to advance the skill of its members as trial attorneys; to honor the members of the Association who have the requisite qualifications; to provide a forum for the expression of interests common to trial lawyers and to act as an agency through which trial lawyers in general, and members of the Association in particular, shall have a voice with which to speak concerning matters of common and general interest;
- To establish relations and cooperate with other legal organizations and associations for the purposes of promoting the efficient administration of justice and constant improvement of the law;
- To cultivate a spirit of loyalty, fellowship, and professionalism among our members; to advance the interests of the members of the Association professionally and to enable trial lawyers as a group to have an active association of standing in the community and nation through which they may learn and be heard.